CHEERS TO SPRING
CELEBRATE WITH THE SPRING TOWN POINT VIRGINIA WINE FESTIVAL
The 15th Annual Spring Town Point Virginia Wine Festival returns to the Downtown Norfolk Waterfront on Saturday, May 6 and Sunday, May 7.
Spend a spring weekend at Town Point Park sampling a variety of more than 200 wines from Virginia’s premier wineries.
Named one of the top food and drink festivals in the country by Business Insider, the event, hosted by Norfolk Festevents, is one of the region’s most anticipated wine festivals.
Here more than 25 of Virginia’s top wineries pour their best vintages against the beautiful Elizabeth River.
Enjoy gourmet foods, specialty merchants, live music, and more.
All wines presented during the festival are available for purchase by the bottle or case throughout each day. Use one to make our Strawberry Wine Cooler; here’s how:
Place a large spoonful of macerated strawberries with some juice in the bottom of a large wine glass. Fill the glass three-quarters full with a crisp, white wine and pour in a few slashes of seltzer water.
Planning to the 15th Annual Spring Town Point Virginia Wine Festival ? Here’s some of my top tips for making the most of a wine festival that I’ve developed over my quarter century experience in food and wine:
1. Have a designated driver.
2. Realize there are a lot of wines out there and they can’t all be tasted in a day. Hit ones you want to try and a favorite or two, then consider buying some bottles to take home for quaffing later.
3. You can’t do a full day of tasting on an empty stomach. Plan on enjoying the food offerings at the event. Also, drink plenty of water to stay hydrated throughout the day.
4. Dress comfortably and in layers so as the day changes you can remain comfortable.
5. Don’t wear cologne; drinking wine is a sensory experience and if you load up on the perfume it could affect yours or others tasting.
6. Try the wines you know you like, but try some that you may not have had before – you could find a new favorite.
7. Really taste the wines; look at them, smell them, taste them, and take notes so you will remember your impressions of them.
8. Make use of the dump bucket if you are starting to feel the effects of drinking too much, or if there is a wine you don’t care for.
9. Also make use of the crackers or bread to clear your palate, especially between greatly varying vintages.
10. Ask lots of questions; the folks from the winery are there to help you make the most of your visit. Don’t worry about asking something that may be common knowledge to them, if you are curious, ask.
Wines in today’s segment come from Zoes Steak & Seafood’s super sommelier Marc Sauter. In addition to enjoying wines during a meal at the upscale eatery, Zoes offers an extensive wine shop for bringing bottles home, including many Virginia vintages.
For more on the 15th Annual Spring Town Point Virginia Wine Festival , visit www.Festevents.org
For more on Zoes Steak & Seafood, visit www.ZoesVB.com
BON APPETIT; LET’S DO BRUNCH
A FAVORITE DISH MEETS VIRGINIA STRAWBERRIES
Captain John Smith and his crew came ashore at present-day Cape Henry at the north end of Virginia Beach, beginning permanent English settlement of the New World. On April 26, 1607, they began to explore the land, finding many wonderful things to eat, including strawberries.
In writings from historian George Percy, who was with Smith during his travels, he notes exploring the area around the Lynnhaven River:
“Going a little further we came into a plat of ground full of fine and beautifull Strawberries, foure times bigger and better than ours in England.”
Berries grew wild in Virginia Beach, and throughout the region; the area in Hampton known today as Strawberry Banks was noted in 1619 by John Smith for the abundance of the fruit there.
Later, strawberries would be cultivated, and plants shipped to England where their flavor was prized. The Virginia strawberry, or Fragaria virginiana, was one of two species of the fruit that were hybridized to create the domestic garden strawberry.
Today, Chandler is the most popular variety grown in Virginia Beach, with Sweet Charlie being another favorite. Camarosa strawberries are also grown in the city. The berries are planted in late September, with harvest coming in May.
Go to one of the many u-pick farms across the region to select your own strawberries, or visit our friends at Westside Produce and Provisions along North Colley in Norfolk for premium produce, including berries.
We’ll have a list of u-pick farms on our website, www.VirginiaEatsAndDrinks.com
There will also be some of our favorite strawberry tips and tricks on the website, too.
Perfect for spring eats and drinks, we love to macerate fresh berries and use in a variety of ways, including a topping on pancakes. This would be a great menu for an alfresco breakfast, or brunch on Mother’s Say
We use a bit of the maceration in our Strawberry Wine Cooler.
Here’s how to macerate berries:
Wash and pat dry 2 pints of fresh strawberries. Hull the berries, cut in half or quarters, and place in a bowl. Add 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup orange liqueur, such as Grand Mariner. Still until combined. Refrigerate, stirring with a fork occasionally overnight, or a minimum of 4 hours.
Stella Pomianek, of Cafe Stella in Norfolk’s Ghent, shares an easy pancake recipe with us.
Here’s how to make the pancakes:
In a large bowl, add 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 2 tablespoons baking powder, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, and 1 teaspoon salt and whisk to incorporate. Make a well in the center, and add 2-1/2 cups milk, 6 tablespoons melted butter, 2 eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Stir to combine. Scoop the batter onto a hot griddle or pan- greased with oil or butter. Cook for two to three minutes, until bubbles form on surface and edges look dry, then flip. Continue cooking until brown on both sides.
For more on Westside Produce and Provisions, visit www.WestsideProduceAndProvisions.com
For more on Cafe Stella, visit www.CafeStellaRoasters.com
FOR MORE VIRGINIA EATS + DRINKS
Get all the information from today’s Virginia Eats + Drinks on Coast Live segment plus more: giveaways, recipes, tips, and tricks on our Facebook group.
Join today, www.facebook.com/groups/VirginiaEatsAndDrinks